If you’ve ever watched a loved one struggle with memory loss and declining cognitive abilities, you know firsthand how frightening and heart-wrenching it can be. Witnessing the gradual deterioration of someone’s precious memories, ability to care for themselves, or even carry on a normal conversation is distressing.
While we’re still on the hunt for a true cure for cognitive conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s, studies are uncovering some promising clues. We’re finding that certain subsets of Alzheimer’s may actually be the side effect of exposure to the poisonous compounds found in toxic mold.
In this article, we’re going to dive into exactly what Alzheimer’s is, break down the different types of Alzheimer’s, and explore the fascinating link between toxic mold and this devastating disease.
Dementia Vs. Alzheimer’s: What Exactly Is Alzheimer’s?
Dementia is actually an umbrella term that is used to refer to a collection of symptoms that disrupt a person’s cognitive abilities. The hallmark of dementia is a gradual and progressive decline in the brain’s ability to function properly. This alteration in the brain can lead to distressing and often heart-breaking changes to a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day tasks and may include:1
- Memory loss and increasing forgetfulness
- Confusion, forgetting people and places
- Wandering and getting lost (even in familiar places)
- Poor judgment
- Difficulty keeping track of things
- Personality and mood changes including depression, anxiety, agitation, and severe mood swings
- Decreased ability to hold a conversation, difficulty with expression and understanding
- Experiencing paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations
- Acting impulsively
- Impaired vision and depth perception
- Loss of balance and coordination
Alzheimer’s is a specific form of dementia that can cause these devastating symptoms due to a few specific changes to the brain which are:2,3
- An abnormal buildup of proteins: Specific proteins found in the brain known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles begin to accumulate in and around brain cells.
- A decrease in neurotransmitters: Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that allow your brain cells to communicate. In Alzheimer’s, neurotransmitters known as acetylcholine and glutamate become significantly deficient.
- Progressive shrinkage: Alzheimer’s causes damage to the cells in your brain. As certain areas of the brain are injured and cells begin to die off, parts of the brain begin to shrink in a process known as brain atrophy.
So what exactly causes these changes to the brain?
What Causes Alzheimer’s in the Brain?
Researchers have not pinpointed a singular underlying cause of Alzheimer’s. It’s speculated that the development and progression of Alzheimer’s is likely due to a potential combination of any number of factors such as:4,5
- History of head trauma
- Alcohol and drug consumption
- Diet and lifestyle
- Other diseases and comorbidities
- Mental health and brain plasticity (a fancy way of saying ongoing learning, growing, and challenging your brain)
- Chronic inflammation
- Exposure to pollutants and other toxins (like toxic mold)
As with most diseases, Alzheimer’s is likely caused by more than one single underlying factor. But there’s one potential contributor to Alzheimer’s that’s garnering more and more attention – exposure to toxic mold.
But before we dive into the link between toxic mold and Alzheimer’s, it’s important to understand the subtypes of Alzheimer’s.
Types of Alzheimer’s: Understanding Type 3 Alzheimer’s
There are 3 distinct subtypes of Alzheimer’s. The first 2 types are characterized as follows:
- Type 1 Alzheimer’s (Inflammatory): Characterized by systemic inflammation
- Type 2 Alzheimer’s (Non-inflammatory): Characterized by metabolic abnormalities
Studies have found that type 3 Alzheimer’s also referred to as cortical – is arguably a fundamentally different disease than the first two types. Rather than losing the ability to form new memories, those with Type 3 Alzheimer’s often begin losing their long-term memory and have significant difficulty maintaining their train of thought.6
It’s speculated that this distinct difference in type 3 Alzheimer’s may be traced back to exposure to biotoxins and the activation of another underlying condition known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or CIRS.
Can Mold Really Cause Alzheimer’s?
Mold and its toxic metabolites known as mycotoxins are potent biotoxins. These biotoxins can cause what’s known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or CIRS – a condition in which your entire immune system is thrown out of whack. Researchers have found a significant overlap between Type 3 Alzheimer’s and CIRS – suggesting that Type 3 Alzheimer’s may actually be a manifestation of CIRS.7
Exactly how mold and CIRS can cause the brain damage seen in Alzheimer’s goes something like this:8,9,10,11,12,13
- A spike in free radicals: The toxins found in mold disturb the balance between harmful free radicals (also known as reactive oxygen species) and the antioxidants that neutralize them. As these free radicals go left unchecked, they cause oxidative stress – a process in which electrons are stripped from your healthy cells, leaving them damaged and unable to function properly.
- Inflammation of the neuroimmune axis: As mold toxins spread and free radicals continue to induce damage, your neuroimmune axis – or the communication line between your nervous system and immune system – is activated. Once activated, your immune system launches an attack – deploying immune cells and pro-inflammatory signaling molecules to your brain and nervous system. This causes a massive spike in inflammation not only in your nervous system but throughout your body.
- Blood-brain barrier breakdown: Your blood-brain barrier is a membrane that acts as a gatekeeper – controlling the selective movement of molecules between your brain and the rest of your body. The inflammation triggered by mold toxins compromises the integrity of this crucial barrier – increasing permeability and allowing unwelcome molecules to sneak past your blood-brain barrier and into your brain. This creates a vicious cycle – further activating your immune system and skyrocketing inflammation.
- Protein binding: Your brain relies on certain proteins to allow your brain cells to communicate with each other via pathways known as synapses. Toxic mold binds to these proteins – disrupting your brain cells’ ability to transmit messages properly.
- Mitochondrial damage: Your mitochondria are the powerhouses of your cells and play an important role in neurogenesis – the formation of new brain cells known as neuronal cells. As the poisonous mold toxins continue to infiltrate your cells, they damage your brain cells’ mitochondria and hinder their ability to replicate and form new healthy cells. This results in the die-off of old cells, causing brain shrinkage and atrophy.
So, if Type 3 Alzheimer’s is in fact a manifestation of CIRS, is there anything we can do about it?
Is Alzheimer’s and Memory Loss From Mold Reversible?
Currently, there is no established “cure” for dementia or Alzheimer’s. But if Type 3 Alzheimer’s, mold/biotoxin exposure, and CIRS are in fact all pieces of the same puzzle, there’s promising news. While we may not know how to cure dementia, we do have some specific and powerful healing protocols that can address the root cause of mold exposure and CIRS.
Breaking down the science behind biotoxin exposure, CIRS, and the healing protocols used to address and reverse these conditions is far too extensive to cover in this article. But if you’re interested in learning more, these articles are a good place to start:
- CIRS: An Examination of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome From Exposure to Recovery (Part 1: Exposure To Biotoxins)
- CIRS: An Examination of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome From Exposure to Recovery (Part 2-Tier One Diagnosis)
- CIRS: An Examination of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome From Exposure to Recovery (Part 3-The Biotoxin Pathway & Tier Two Diagnosis )
- CIRS: An Examination of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome From Exposure to Recovery (Part 4 – Cirs Treatment)
- Toxic Mold Exposure: 9 Misconceptions Corrected by an Expert
So the answer to the question “Is Alzheimer’s and memory loss from mold reversible?” is – it’s possible.
Are You Concerned About Mold Exposure, CIRS, or Cognitive Issues?
As we learn more about Alzheimer’s, our immune system, and the complex interplay between our bodies and our environment, the closer we get to finding the answers and solutions we need to treat this devastating disease. If you’re concerned that you or a loved one has been exposed to toxic mold, are experiencing persistent and unexplained symptoms, or are in the trenches of dealing with an ongoing diagnosis, it can be scary and overwhelming, to say the least.
But you don’t have to navigate it on your own. Here at Silver Tree Wellness, we specialize in addressing complex health issues and taking a big-picture, holistic approach. We leave no stone unturned when it comes to helping you identify the underlying cause of your symptoms and creating a personalized plan for healing.
We unite cutting-edge diagnostic testing, modern-day healing technologies, natural lifestyle modifications, and equally important, spirit-centered practices. Merging these approaches together allows us to address the root cause of your condition and restore balance at the deepest levels of your being. So if you or a loved one is battling any kind of health challenge including Dementia or Cognitive Issues and you’re seeking true mind, body, and soul healing, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment.
- What Is Dementia? Symptoms, Types, and Diagnosis | National Institute on Aging (nih.gov)
- Alzheimer’s disease – Causes – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- What Happens to the Brain in Alzheimer’s Disease? | National Institute on Aging (nih.gov)
- Alzheimer’s disease – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
- What Is Alzheimer’s Disease? (alzheimers.gov)
- Metabolic profiling distinguishes three subtypes of Alzheimer’s disease – PMC (nih.gov)
- Inhalational Alzheimer’s disease: an unrecognized—and treatable—epidemic – PMC (nih.gov)
- Impact of mold on mast cell-cytokine immune response – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Transport of enniatin B and enniatin B1 across the blood-brain barrier and hints for neurotoxic effects in cerebral cells (plos.org)
- Binding of mycotoxins to proteins involved in neuronal plasticity: a combined in silico/wet investigation | Scientific Reports (nature.com)
- The mitochondrial protein Bak is pivotal for gliotoxin-induced apoptosis and a critical host factor of Aspergillus fumigatus virulence in mice | Journal of Cell Biology | Rockefeller University Press (rupress.org)
- Mitochondrial dysfunction underlies cognitive defects as a result of neural stem cell depletion and impaired neurogenesis | Human Molecular Genetics | Oxford Academic (oup.com)
- IJMS | Free Full-Text | Mechanisms of Mycotoxin-Induced Neurotoxicity through Oxidative Stress-Associated Pathways (mdpi.com)